It might be said that Monday night marked the end of an era, but that would be lazy. And being lazy isn’t necessarily part of the plans for George Burnell, the town government fixture leaving the Board of Selectmen after completing two terms.
In sending off their colleague on Feb. 25, the selectmen did not say “goodbye” to Burnell, rather they thanked him for his service to date and said they look forward to working with him in the future – as an appointee to one or more other town boards.
To hear what the selectmen and Burnell had to say, check out the videos posted to your right.
“You certainly came with all of the background that the town needed and you have been such a selectmen because of that background,” said Cohen. “Your advocacy for the town’s infrastructure and its streets has been absolutely amazing. In fact, I think you’ve been the best friend of the streets of Lexington.”
Next up, Selectman Peter Kelley said he enjoyed agreeing with Burnell – and agreeing do disagree with him as well.
“It’s been a pleasure having you on that end of the table and I don’t know how many times I’ve looked over there hoping you would at least appreciate the point of view I was trying to bring forward, and many times you did,” Kelley said. “That’s not always the case, but that’s a good thing. … It’s been fun, and it’s been very rewarding.”
Kelley said he looks forward to continuing to work with Burnell on town committees to which the selectmen are likely to appoint him. Selectman Hank Manz echoed that sentiment.
“Now I strongly suspect you’re going to move to a position of quite a bit more power,” said Manz. “One of the things I’ve learned as a selectman is as a liaison you’re there to listen and comment appropriately, but you rarely get to say precisely what you mean in that meeting. We are now freeing you to do that, to be truly effective on the many committees I’m sure we’re going to appoint you to.”
For his part, Burnell sounded like he’s game for the next adventure in town government.
“In fact you wear a different hat when you’re a selectmen,” he said. “There is a different kind of advocacy and a different kind of service that you provide.”
Burnell also offered thanks to the many people who make Lexington’s government go, and reiterated that leaving the Board of Selectmen doesn’t mean he’ll be leaving public service.
“I’d like to thank the town of Lexington, all of our citizens, all of our committees, all of the people who participate in our democracy here for their allowing me to serve and the support of the activities that we undertake,” he said. “This has been a very unique board. We have been able to express different views, evaluate the challenges independently. Everyone on this board thinks independently but acts collaboratively. I think it’s been a joy. I’m going to miss that part of it, but I’m not going too far away.”
Burnell’s departure from the Board of Selectmen opens up one position on the board, a seat likely to be filled by .